Linebacker Brian Cushing is out for the season with a torn left knee ligament, leaving the unbeaten Houston Texans without their top tackler and one of their emotional leaders.
Cushing was hurt in the second quarter of the Texans’ 23-17 win over the New York Jets on a low block by guard Matt Slauson. Cushing walked off the field on his own, but didn’t return.
Coach Gary Kubiak said Tuesday that Cushing has a torn anterior cruciate ligament and will need surgery in two to three weeks, after the swelling subsides. Cushing was leading Houston in tackles (38) before Monday night’s game.
“A big blow for our team,” Kubiak said. “We have to have guys pick it up around him and we’ve got to find a way to move forward. We’re all just disappointed for him. It’s a tough day for him.”
The Texans (5-0) play Green Bay (2-3) in Houston on Sunday night. The loss of Cushing is a foreboding sign for Houston, which ran into a rash of injuries to some of its top players in 2011, including Andre Johnson (hamstring), Matt Schaub (Lisfranc fracture) and outside linebacker Mario Williams (torn chest muscle).
In 2010, Houston lost middle linebacker DeMeco Ryans to a ruptured Achilles tendon, and the team spiraled to a 6-10 record.
“I do know that there are crises in this league, and every team has them,” Kubiak said. “We’ve had our share here the last couple of years, and boy, if this is the first one (this year), it’s a big one.”
Tim Dobbins moved into Cushing’s spot in the lineup against the Jets, and finished with four tackles and a pass deflection. Kubiak says Dobbins is “option No. 1” to replace Cushing in the lineup.
Faulk retires after 13 years
Kevin Faulk has made it official. After two injury-plagued seasons, the running back is retiring after 13 years with the New England Patriots.
The team’s career leader in all-purpose yards formally announced his retirement on Tuesday at the team’s Hall of Fame.
Drafted out of LSU in the second round in 1999, Faulk spent his entire career with the Patriots, primarily as a third-down back and kick returner. He was part of all three New England championship teams but was not active for last season’s 21-17 Super Bowl loss to the New York Giants.
His 12,349 all-purpose yards, 5,041 return yards and 4,098 kick return yards are team records. He also rushed for 3,607 yards and 16 touchdowns and caught 431 passes for 3,701 yards and 15 touchdowns.
Bucs’ Gaitor placed on IR
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have placed cornerback Anthony Gaitor on injured reserve-designated for return with a hamstring strain that’s sidelined him for the first four games of the season.
The Bucs also announced Tuesday that linebacker Jacob Cutrera has been promoted to the 53-man roster.
Bills sign veteran Wells
The Buffalo Bills have signed Reggie Wells to address an injury-depleted offensive line.
In making the move Tuesday, the Bills placed offensive lineman Colin Brown on injured reserve after the backup hurt his hamstring on Sunday.